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Russian Foreign Ministry comments on decision to put off Afghan presidential election

Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission has decided to postpone the presidential election scheduled for April 20

MOSCOW, January 10. /TASS/. Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission could make a decision to postpone the presidential election scheduled for April 20 until June 20 under pressure from the United States, which needs time to get ready for the voting in accordance with its scenario, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The ministry recalled that, according to the official wording, the election had been postponed "for technical reasons in order to better prepare for the voting."

"We note that this decision was made despite the repeated assurances by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Afghanistan’s Election Commission concerning the need to strictly adhere to the deadlines for the election announced earlier," the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed.

"Everything seems to suggest that the decision to put off the election was made under the United States’ influence, which needs additional time to prepare for holding the upcoming voting in accordance with its patterns and building a peace process in Afghanistan according to its own scenario," the ministry noted. "Those who initiated this step are apparently not embarrassed by the indignation expressed by many citizens of that country, which, could spiral into an aggravation of the domestic political situation in Afghanistan with far-reaching consequences. Apparently, the Afghan society’s opinion is driven into the background for the current Afghan leadership, when it comes to Washington’s interests."

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the decision to postpone the election triggers the logical question of where decisions on the key issues of life in Afghanistan are actually made. "US media reports about Washington’s intention, in light of the planned reduction of the US military contingent in Afghanistan, to create some Afghan ‘counter-terrorist units,’ which will not be controlled by Kabul but will operate in the interests of the US special services, make one draw a similar conclusion," it stressed.

In light of that, the fact that Kabul refused to send its representatives to the Moscow-format meeting last November, in spite of the opportunity to have a dialogue with members of the Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) for the first time during the Afghan conflict, no longer seems surprising. Nevertheless, the Afghan government took part in the Washington-brokered meeting in Abu Dhabi. However, the Taliban just would not let its representatives get to the negotiating table, the Russian Foreign Ministry recalled.

"All that speaks volumes about who actually determines the fate of the Afghan people and the national reconciliation process in that country," the ministry concluded.